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How far would you go to get ahead of the competition? Is it possible to survive without any friends in the connection-dependent cannabis industry? These are the questions a Denver consumption lounge must now contend with after they were exposed for throwing fellow Denver cannabis industry businesses under the bus.
Leaked emails show that JAD’s Mile High Smoke Co-Founder Stacey Davis has been reporting businesses to Denver’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) since at least July. Her emails call out businesses like Tetra Lounge, The Marijuana Mansion, and Stoner Cinema Pop-Up, accusing them of hosting events allowing cannabis consumption without proper licensing.
The emails show Davis growing increasingly frustrated at the MED’s lack of action. Tired of waiting for these businesses in the Denver cannabis industry to face consequences, Davis sent an email to over 20 local government officials on July 22nd. The list of those emailed includes addresses outside of the MED — and even Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. The email ends with this scathing statement towards Denver’s enforcement agencies:
“My hope is that by transparently providing each of your organizations with the same evidence at the same time we can hasten action, as clearly our previous methods have not done so.”
A subsequent email to Mayor Mike Johnston reveals the source of Davis’ resentment. Davis calls out the Mayor and city officials for letting unlicensed cannabis events run rampant. She adds, “As the ONLY legal retail hospitality in the state, this is beyond frustrating…There is no point in having a legal market if the illegal one is allowed to operate unfettered…”
According to Davis, many of the individuals addressed in her July 22nd email have stopped by her legal business to ask her to cease “revenue generating operations…” while they were present — a request which exceeds “…reasonable accommodation for a jurisdiction we do not fall under.”
Denver’s Summer of “Warnings”
Veriheal previously reported on Denver cannabis businesses’ legal troubles over unlicensed events. In June, city officials sent warnings to eight businesses for hosting unlicensed cannabis-related events. The businesses that got warning letters included:
- Ant Life art gallery
- Metra Talent Group
- The Marijuana Mansion
- The Psychedelic Club of Denver
- NORML Denver
- The Vape Loft
- Rooted Heart Yoga Studio
- Clubhouse Collective
Tetra Lounge, meanwhile, received a general violation ticket because of the “necessity of a license to operate”.
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At the time of these citations, many of the businesses affected came out with statements expressing confusion about the warnings. Jacob Lemanski, the owner of Ant Life, said he was confused because his venue is not exactly a cannabis consumption lounge. However, he did admit to allowing cannabis use during private events. Rooted Heart Yoga Studio owner Nikki Hazamy similarly shared that she had no idea she was violating the law by allowing cannabis use during a private event. “It’s very vague – what you can and can’t do with cannabis,” Hazamy said.
The “private event” excuse is something that Davis called out in her July 22nd email. In the email, she asks, “What steps are each of your departments taking to ensure the public at large knows that a ‘private event’ is still required to have a consumption license?” Additionally, she asks how officials plan to reprimand businesses like Tetra Lounge which “…continue such a public flaunting of the laws?”
So, What Now?
With Davis’ leaked emails making their rounds through Denver’s cannabis industry, one big question remains: what will happen to Davis and JAD’s Mile High Smoke?
Due to its existence within a legal gray area, the cannabis industry is one where connections are crucial to survival. Product brands, retail shops, consumption lounges, and event hosts all need to work hand-in-hand to carefully navigate complicated cannabis laws. A mistake on one end of the chain can cause legal repercussions on the other end and vice-versa. With her scathing emails leaked, has Davis burned all her bridges?
Stoner Cinema Pop-Up Co-Founder Nicholas Barreto sure thinks so. His business was one of the many in the Denver cannabis industry affected by Davis’ emails. He says Davis has “…created uncertainty and trust issues within our community.” Would you work with someone you didn’t trust? The consensus from the cannabis industry seems to be no. There is chatter — that’s all it is now — that some brands may pull their products or refuse to work with JAD’s Mile High Smoke in the future.
Whatever happens to Davis, one thing is certain. Denver’s tight-knit cannabis community will never be the same again. Make sure to check in with Veriheal to read the latest updates on this evolving story.